THE REUNION

A synopsis for the full production short film by Timothy C. Cummings

At a weathered but personable veteran’s hall displaying images of battles fought and won, service members and veterans of all branches gather for a reunion. In the meeting hall are several long rectangle tables and a solitary round table.

Most attendees wear service uniforms, civilian suits or casual clothing, but those near the solitary round table wear duty uniforms – be it battle dress, flight suits or working uniforms, and some  were once in use but since phased out. Like all the others, those at this table are delighted to see friends as they recollect and get caught up, and despite some of their dated apparel, they are all, for the most part, youthful in appearance, looking as if they are in their late teens or early to mid-twenties on average.

A notable difference between the conversations taking place around the other tables is the nature of talk. While the active duty member’s and veteran’s discussions elsewhere is retrospective, the give and take among those near the round table is real time, as if what they are talking about happened that very day, and the variety is telling: Details about combat operations in Europe, the Middle East or Southeast and Southwest Asia, along with comments about service during times other than war. Through it all, a somber thread of loss is woven through their words as the men and women from varying warfighting communities in which they served visit with each other. The entire time, the reunion’s sounds of revelry emanate only from the other tables and the festive guests there.

In time, it becomes clear that the round table is set in remembrance, and insofar all of the other attendees are concerned, unoccupied. They do not see anyone at the table, because, it is indeed vacant: The attendees there are in fact deceased. Although not physically present, the essence of their spirit and memory are in the room.

Over time, new attendees show up at the round table. Most are not in military clothing, and to a person, they appear confused as they listen to the others. With an occasional glance toward those at the rectangle tables, they bewilderedly ask where there are. Those seated at the round table stand and embrace them, and carefully, even lovingly, explain they are now part of a different brotherhood. They say, but with pained expressions and strained tones, how the newcomers are here because they killed themselves: That having lost their way, and with a dark and crushing pain, they had passed through the portal of suicide. When that reality is uttered, the grief shown by the speaker and the recipient alike is obvious. As those conversations continue, the brotherhood of the entire event embraces the new arrivals, and in time, they begin to meld with the others at the table of remembrance.

Later, at the end of night, the reunion draws to a close, and after the other tables empty, those at the round table leave quietly. Into the night go the men and women who fell in battle, or during the build up to war or in peacetime service.

And with them, brothers and sisters who heartbreakingly fell later.

Please consider donating to this film project. You may hear a narration of this synopsis and contribute by visiting https://gogetfunding.com/embed-widget2?campaignid=7014673&frame_type=t1

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